Witness 3 - Marie of the Sacred Heart, O.C.D.


The third witness was Sister Marie of the Sacred Heart. Her testimony is sobre and to the point.

Thérèse’s eldest sister Marie Martin was born in Alençon on 22nd February 1860. She was a boarder at the Visitation Convent school in Le Mans from 1868 to 1875, and godmother to the future saint at her baptism on 4th January 1873. From 15th November 1877 onwards, she lived with her father in Lisieux, where she providentially met Father Almire Pichon, S.J. (1843-1919). The priest would become her spiritual father as well as the friend and spiritual director of the whole family, and would remain so even after his departure for Canada on 4th October 1884. Once Pauline joined the Carmelite convent on 2nd October 1882, Marie took especial care of Thérèse, particularly during her strange sickness.

She took a vow of chastity on 25th March 1885 and joined the Carmel of Lisieux on 15th October of the same year. She received the Habit on 19th March 1886, and was professed and received the veil on 22nd and 25th May 1888. She was Sister Thérèse’s “angel” during her novitiate. She was “provisor” from 1894 to 1933, and therefore saw to foodstuffs and meal arrangements. Even before her sister’s canonisation (1925), she contracted articulatory rheumatism, which gradually worsened until she was finally confined to either her bed or a wheelchair. She died on 19th January 1940.

Marie of the Sacred Heart was among those who best perceived Thérèse’s mystery of grace. She would later learn the autobiographical manuscripts forming Story of a Soul by memory. We are much indebted to her because it was at her insistence that Mother Agnes of Jesus requested Thérèse to put her childhood memories into writing (manuscript A) at the end of 1894, and also because it was at her request that in September 1896 Thérèse addressed her the splendid letter that constitutes manuscript B.

In May 1897, she begged Thérèse to write down her thoughts regarding the Blessed Virgin. And so the poem entitled “Why I love you, O Mary” was born, and was referred to by the Saint, a few days before she died, as follows, “My little poem expresses everything I think and would preach about the Blessed Virgin if I was a priest” (p.317v).  

Marie of the Sacred Heart helped Mother Agnes a great deal prior to the future Saint’s beatification. It was in this context that on 21st January 1908, she presented her a report that the Diocesan Bishop, Mgr Lemonnier, had requested on the virtues of Sister Thérèse*.

In the Informative Process, she testified from 6th to 13th September 1910 (sessions XXII- XXVI). Her contribution was most valuable on more than one point (for example Thérèse’s childhood sickness, her vision of the Bl. Virgin, the miraculous healing, and life at Les Buissonnets). Sister Marie of the Sacred Heart shed much light on the humblest, simplest and most profound aspects of her sister’s saintliness.

Her testimony is recorded on pp. 304r-334v of the Public Copy to which we refer.

[Session 22: - 6th September 1910, at 8:30 am]

[304r] [The witness satisfactorily answers the first question.]

[Answer to the second question]:

My name is Marie-Louise Martin, in religion Sister Marie of the Sacred Heart. I was born in Alençon, Diocese of Séez, on 22nd February 1860 of the legal marriage between Louis-Joseph Stanislas Aloys Martin and Marie Zélie Guérin. I am a Professed Nun of the Carmelite Order in the Lisieux monastery, and the Servant of God’s eldest sister and godmother.

[The witness satisfactorily answers questions three to six.]

[Answer to the seventh question]:

I purified my intentions before coming to testify. I want this to be for God alone.

Juxta Interrogalorium VIII respondit:

Everything I have noted down in view of [304v]my testimony is the result of my personal observations. I lived with the Servant of God at our parents’ home from when she was born until 1886, when I joined the Carmel (the Servant of God was aged 13 and a half). I was then with her again from when she joined the Carmel (1888) until she died. I read the manuscript of her life when she wrote

WITNESS 3: Marie of the Sacred Heart O.C.D.

the first part, which she addressed to Mother Agnes of Jesus, and the third part, which she addressed to me. I didn’t read the second part, which was addressed to Mother Marie de Gonzague, until after the Servant of God’s death. I found that she admirably expressed her thoughts and feelings in these accounts, but I already knew them for having lived with her.

[What do you know of the origin of the manuscript and its state of integrity?]:

One winter’s evening, after Matins, I was in the warming room with Sister Thérèse, Sister Geneviève and our Reverend Mother Prioress Agnes of Jesus, when Sister Thérèse told us two or three tales from her childhood. I then said [305r] to our Mother Prioress, Agnes of Jesus, “How can you let her write little poems for the pleasure of the other Sisters while she doesn’t write down any of her childhood memories for us? You’ll see, she’s an angel and won’t remain on earth for long. We shall lose all these valuable details.” Our Mother Prioress hesitated at first, and then, at our insistence, she told the Servant of God that she would like the account of her childhood for her feast day. Sister Thérèse obeyed, and the first part of the manuscript was sent to Mr Guérin, our uncle. Later on, seeing that Sister Thérèse was very sick, Agnes of Jesus persuaded Reverend Mother Marie de Gonzague, who was then prioress, to ask Sister Thérèse to write the account of her religious life, which is the second part of the manuscript. Finally, during her last retreat (1896), I asked her to put what I called her little doctrine into writing for me. She did so, and these pages were added as a third part when the “Story of her Life” was printed. I am convinced that we can wholly rely on this manuscript to tell us the Servant of God’s thoughts and feelings. She wrote it very simply, as she intended it.    

[305v] [What do you know about this manuscript’s state of integrity?]:

When this manuscript was about to be printed, Reverend Mother Marie de Gonzague, the prioress, wanted it to seem that Thérèse had addressed the entirety of it to her. With that in view, we crossed out some names and a few details about family life that were of an overly private nature. It didn’t alter the content of the account at all. Besides, after Marie de Gonzague’s death, we reinstated the original text.

[She is asked whether she has a special affection for the Servant of God]:

Of course; I’m surprised you’re even asking me this question. I love her not only because one naturally loves one’s sister, but also because she was like an angel to me. I sincerely hope she will be beatified, because then we’ll see what she wanted us to see; that we should have trust in God’s infinite mercy and that sainthood is accessible to everyone. There is much more to it than that, but I don’t know how to express it. I also hope she will be beatified [306r] because it will allow her to better fulfil her desire to do good on earth, which will help souls have more trust in her.

[Answer to the tenth question]:

The Servant of God was born on 2nd January 1873. I’ve already given our parents’ first and last names (Interrog. II). Our father was born in Bordeaux and our mother in Gandelain (Diocese of Séez). Our father was a retired jeweller; our mother made Alençon lace. They lived in Alençon (Parish of Notre-Dame), Diocese of Séez. The Servant of God was the ninth and last child of the marriage. She had four living sisters; Marie, Pauline, Léonie and Céline. Two other sisters had died (Hélène and Thérèse) and two brothers had also died (Joseph-Louis and Joseph-Jean-Baptiste). The Servant of God was named Marie-Françoise-Thérèse. Our Mother saw to our little sister’s early education, but when our mother died in 1877, when Thérèse was four and a half years old, my sister Pauline and I, the two eldest, took over her education.

[306v] [Answer to the eleventh question]:

Our parents were reputed to be extremely devout. Our mother fasted during Lent, without using the mitigations permitted. Every day my father and mother attended Mass at 5:30 am, because they said it was the poor people’s Mass. They took Communion frequently, more than once a week, which was quite exceptional for the time. In Lisieux, my father took Communion four or five times a week. My mother loathed society life and wanted nothing luxurious in the house. Reading the life of Madame Acarie (Bl. Marie of the Incarnation) one day, our mother said, “How fortunate she was to have given her three daughters to God!” Our mother had an extremely energetic and lively character, but was not harsh, with a very sensitive and very generous heart. Above all she showed great abnegation which meant she was self-forgetful and worked very arduously in order to have the means to give us a thorough Christian education. Also, in hardship, for example when my [307r] brothers and sisters died, she showed astonishing strength of character. Yet you can see from her letters that her heart was broken; but her faith helped her overcome everything. Our father’s dominant characteristic was great righteousness. He made it his duty to affirm his faith, even in front of unbelievers. When the priest brought the Holy Viaticum to our dying mother, he decided to

WITNESS 3: Marie of the Sacred Heart O.C.D.

accompany the Blessed Sacrament all the way to the church himself, holding a candle. He was very charitable and wholly devoted to his neighbour, never allowing ill to be spoken of anyone. His overall character gave an impression of goodness. He was also noted for his very pure life, which was reflected in his whole person. He was extremely careful to distance us from anything he considered to be a temptation.

[Answer to the twelfth question]:

The Servant of God was baptised on 4th January 1873 at the church of Notre-Dame in Alençon. 

[Answer to the thirteenth question]:

[307v] Our parents brought us up in a spirit of detachment from things of the earth. This was, it seems to me, the most noticeable characteristic of our education. Very often, they reminded us of the eternal nature of heavenly things. Education in our family was very loving, but in no way soft. It’s true that our father particularly loved our little sister, but he didn’t spoil her despite this. When, after our mother died, we gave her lessons, our father always respected the penalties we gave her for her little mistakes.

[Session 23: - 9th September 1910, at 8:30 and at 2:30 in the afternoon]

[309v] [Answer to the fourteenth question]:

When my sister Léonie left the Benedictine Abbey in Lisieux where she went to school, our little sister Thérèse was sent there in her place. She came home every evening; she was then eight and a half years old. She remained at the Abbey until she was twelve and a half. It was there that she took her first Communion on 8th May 1884 and where she was confirmed on 14th June of the same year. As for the Servant of God’s character and virtues during this [310r] first part of her life, I can say this: When she was just two years old, we noticed she was intelligent beyond her years. She was a very deep and thoughtful soul. I thought she was too serious and unduly ahead of her years. When my mother died, the ceremony of Extreme Unction made a deep impression on her soul. This is what she said about it: “I didn’t speak to anyone about the feelings I experienced. I watched and listened in silence” - MSA 12v –. To me her behaviour did seem extraordinary when my mother died. Nobody had time to look after her but she didn’t try to draw attention to herself either. However, I was careful not to ask her what her thoughts were so as not to encourage these deep feelings she later spoke of. There was no need to scold her when she was at fault. We only needed to tell her that it was not right, or that it upset God, and she never did it again. She already had great self-control. As a tiny child, she would attend the lessons I gave to her sister Céline, and she had enough restraint to keep from saying a single word for the lesson’s two hour duration.

[310v] She was exceedingly honest. My mother wrote, “The little one wouldn’t lie for all the gold in the world” - CF 195 -. She had a need to own up to even the smallest of faults. No sooner had she committed them than she would go and tell my mother. One day when she was about five and a half years old, to the housemaid who told little fibs to entertain her, she said, “You know, Victoire, that it offends God.” At the age of four, she began counting her little virtuous acts and sacrifices on a kind of rosary made especially for the purpose. She called them “practices”. The games she played with her sisters were always about “practices”, which greatly intrigued one neighbour. Her “practices” entailed yielding to her sister in many different circumstances. This required a lot of effort on her part because she had a very stubborn character then. She was very devout. My mother said to us, “Thérèse always has a smile on her lips and shows signs of being predestined. She speaks of nothing but God and wouldn’t miss saying her prayers for anything” - CF 192 -.

[311r] Towards the age of ten, the Servant of God contracted a strange sickness which must certainly have come from the devil. As she herself said in her manuscript, he had received an external power over her. She said that not once did she lose her faculties of reason during her illness. I certainly never heard her use a word that made no sense, and not once was she delirious. But she had terrifying visions that gave chills to all those who heard her cries of distress. Certain nails in the bedroom walls would suddenly appear to her in the form of large burnt fingers and she would cry out, “I’m frightened, I’m frightened!” Her eyes, which were usually so calm and gentle, had an expression of terror in them that is impossible to describe. Another time, my father went to sit by her bed holding his hat in his hand. Thérèse looked at it without saying a single word, for she spoke very little during her illness; then, in the blink of an eye as always, her expression would change. She stared at the hat and let out a mournful cry: “Oh, the big black beast!” There was something unnatural about her cries; you had to hear them to have an idea of what they were like. One day when the doctor was present during a fit, he said to my father, “Science is powerless in the face of such phenomena: there’s [311v] nothing we can do.” I can go so far as to say that the devil tried to kill our little sister. Her bed was positioned in a large alcove,

WITNESS 3: Marie of the Sacred heart O.C.D.

and at the head and foot of the bed was an empty space into which she would try and throw herself. She actually did so several times, and I’m surprised she never split her head open on the tiles. But there was never a single scratch on her. At other times, she would hit her head hard against the wood of the bed. And sometimes she would appear to want to speak to me but no sound would come from her lips.

But the most terrible fit of all was the one she related in her “Life Story”. I thought she wasn’t going to survive it. Seeing her exhausted from this harrowing struggle, I decided to give her a drink, but she cried out with terror, “They’re trying to poison me.” It was then that my sisters and I threw ourselves at the foot of the statue of the Blessed Virgin. I said the same prayer three times. She told me that she had seen the Blessed Virgin herself. The vision lasted 4-5 minutes, and then her eyes came to rest lovingly on me. From then on, all [312r] trace of her illness disappeared. The very next day, she went back to her life as normal, and apart from one or two relapses, which took place without apparent cause as she was walking in the garden the week after being cured, she suffered no other such fit during her lifetime.

Thérèse took her first Communion on 8th May 1884, at the age of 11 and 4 months. She found the long wait imposed on her very difficult to bear; she couldn’t understand the rule that meant she was put back a year for being born, as she said, two days late. It seemed very harsh to her. One day, we met Monsignor Hugonin on his way to the station: “O Marie,” she said, “would you mind if I ran to ask him for permission to take my first Communion?” I had a great deal of trouble holding her back. When I told her that in early Christianity, tiny children were given Holy Eucharist after their baptism, she was very admiring and said to me, “So why isn’t it like that now?” At Christmas, seeing us leave for Midnight Mass while she had to stay at home because she was too young, she said to me, “If you would take me with you, I could take Communion too. I would slide [312v] in amongst everyone else. No one would notice. Could I do that?” (l’Esprit p.67). And she was very upset when I told her it wasn’t possible. She prepared for her first Communion with extraordinary fervour, doing numerous acts of virtue every day, and marking them down in a special little book. I had also given her a little leaflet about renunciation, on which she meditated with delight. You could tell that she aspired with all her might to unite herself to Jesus. Moreover, on the day of her first Communion, she looked to me more like an angel than a mortal creature. During her second Communion retreat, Thérèse was assailed by scrupulosity.

The disorder would intensify notably on the days preceding her confessions, when she would come to tell me all her so-called sins. I tried to heal her by telling her that I took her sins, which weren’t even imperfections, upon myself, and I only allowed her to take responsibility for two or three, which I pointed out to her. She was so obedient that she followed my advice to the letter. She later wrote, “Marie was indispensable to me, [304 bis-r] so to speak. I told my scruples only to her and was so obedient that my confessor never found out about my awful disorder. I told him just the number of sins that Marie had permitted me to confess, not one more, and could pass as being the least scrupulous soul on earth in spite of the fact that I was scrupulous to the highest degree.” - MSA 41v – It was through prayer that she was freed of her troubles. She addressed her brothers and sisters who had preceded her to heaven, and soon her soul was flooded with peace once more.

[Answer to the fourteenth question continued]:

The Benedictine school [304 bis-v] brought her much suffering. We had educated her at home and she was very advanced for her age. She therefore found herself in a class of much older pupils. Thérèse was 8 whereas her classmates were 13 or 14. As she was top of the class, one of her classmates grew jealous and picked on her, which upset her very much. However, she never complained, in accordance with the principle she had already adopted, which was to never complain, and it was only later on in the Carmel that we learnt the cause of her past distress.

[Answer to the fifteenth question]:

The Servant of God was taken out of the boarding school in about January 1886. Her sister Céline, who had been there with her before then, finished her studies in August 1885, and so it was alone that our little sister went back to the Abbey in October. Being isolated like this in a religious house, where she had already been very unhappy, proved dangerous to her health. Moreover, this was at the height of her scrupulosity and [305 bis-r] our father thought it wise, as did I, who played the role of mother to her, to keep her at home until she finished her studies.

[Do you know what the Servant of God’s School Mistresses at the Benedictine school thought of her?] :

They regarded her as a very intelligent and devout pupil, if a little shy. They were very fond of her and very caring. They could see that because she was accustomed to the intimacy

of family life, she found it difficult to adapt to the very different environment of the boarding school.

[How did the Servant of God behave at home?]:

She took Communion four or five times a week. She would have liked to take Communion every day, but was waiting for her confessor to suggest it, not daring to take the initiative to ask him herself. She later said, “Then, I didn’t have the boldness that I have now. It is not to remain in a golden ciborium that Jesus comes to us each day; it’s to find another ciborium, one that is infinitely more dear to Him than the first; the ciborium of our soul” - MSA 48,2 –. Her desire to join the Association of the Children of Mary at the Benedictine [305bis v] Abbey convinced her, despite her aversion, to go back to the boarding school twice a week for several months. Meanwhile, I had joined the Carmelite convent (October 1886), and the Servant of God stayed at home with my father and sisters Léonie and Céline.

[Answer to the sixteenth question]:

As early as two years old, the Servant of God showed a desire for religious life. Towards the age of 14, she no longer doubted her vocation for the Carmel, and it became so urgent that she felt she had an obligation to join. No doubt our parents were pleased to give their children to God, and even wished to do so; however, they had never put us under any pressure in that sense. My sister Pauline (Mother Agnes of Jesus), raised a few objections to our younger sister’s wishes in order to test her vocation. I, however, put up a much tougher and more obstinate opposition. The main reason behind my opposition was our sister’s young age and my fear that her joining the Carmel would give our father [306 bis r] great sorrow, because Thérèse really was the ray of sunshine in his life. Despite these obstacles, the Servant of God persevered in her pursuit to join the Carmel. Only through the accounts she gave me in the visiting room did I hear of the obstacles that were put in her way by Superiors, and the measures she took to overcome them, which even included going to ask the Holy Father, Pope Leo XIII, for authorisation to join the Carmel at the age of 15. For that matter, she related all that in her manuscript.

[Answer to the seventeenth question]:

She joined the Carmel of Lisieux on 9th April 1888. She received the Habit on 10th January. She waited longer than the others to do so because of her young age. She pronounced her vows on 8th September 1890. She was also delayed for her vows because she could have taken them in January. This delay was imposed by the Superiors, again on account of her age.

[306 bis-v] [Do you know whether the Superiors had another reason besides age for delaying her Profession?]:

There was no other reason besides her young age. As far as her attitude was concerned, our Mother Prioress and all the nuns gave this testimony of her: that she was a very fervent novice and that no one had ever seen her be in the least unfaithful to the Rule. She had never asked for any dispensation.

[Session 24: - 10th September 1910, at 8:30 and 2 in the afternoon]

[308 bis-v] [Answer to the eighteenth question]:

She successively held various ordinary duties within the community, including in the sacristy, the linen-room, the turn, the refectory, etc. In all her posts, she was always seen to be focused on practicing charity and accomplishing her task in a spirit of faith and constantly attentive to the presence of God. When Mother Agnes of Jesus was elected prioress (1893), she secretly entrusted Sister Thérèse of the Child Jesus with the task of directing the novices, a post that she was obliged to leave in appearance to the former prioress. She therefore held this post for the three years that Mother Agnes of Jesus was prioress. When Mother Marie de Gonzague was re-elected in 1896, she did not designate a titular novice mistress, and ordered Sister Thérèse to fulfil this task under her direction. [309 bis-r] Sister Thérèse of the Child Jesus accomplished this delicate and difficult assignment with great wisdom and perspicacity. She also brought great courage to the post, not fearing to do her duty, even if it had disagreeable consequences for her.

[Answer to the nineteenth question]:

She wrote the manuscript of her life, which I mentioned above (Interrog. VIII). She also wrote a number of letters to family members, poems on pious subjects, and plays, which we call “Pious Recreations”. The manuscript of her life was published, and the complete edition contains a selection of her letters and poems.

[Answer to the twentieth question]:

I esteem that the Servant of God’s life is a marvel of perfection in all respects, both in terms of the great trials she endured and in terms of living out religious virtues in the minutest detail. For instance, it is not usual to see the same even-temperedness and the same smile on someone throughout the many different [309 a-v] troubles and trials of ordinary life. She seemed to experience only joy even in times

WITNESS 3: Marie of the Sacred Heart O.C.D.

of great hardship, to the extent that I only found out about her sufferings, for example her great temptations against faith, through reading her manuscript after her death. Just as she was constantly affable, she was also always active and devoted in the service of God, especially in times of trial.  

[Answer to the twenty-first question]:

Sister Thérèse of the Child Jesus had an ardent faith, which she demonstrated even as a child through her love for the Holy Eucharist. After her first Communion, she only aspired to receiving Our Lord for a second time. Her faith was also apparent in trials. When my father fell ill, she wrote to me, “Jesus has come to visit us. He has found us worthy to pass through the crucible of suffering. It is the Lord who has done this; it is up to us to thank Him” - LT 91 –. She said that our father was doing his purgatory here below, and, with our Mother Prioress’ permission, [310 bis-r] she spent all the savings she had made as a young girl to offer the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass for him. She counted the great trial that our father’s attack of cerebral paralysis represented as a day of grace in her life, noting down the exact date on a picture and calling it “Our great wealth” - MSA 86,1 –. She brought the same faith to her inner trials, which she always considered from a spiritual point of view. In a letter to me in 1890, she wrote, “You’re going to believe that your little daughter is saddened by this (her aridity and darkness), but, no, on the contrary, she is happy to follow herFiancébecause of her love for Him alone and not because of His gifts” - LT111 –. She also had a great spirit of faith with regard to her Superiors. A month or two before she died, she experienced particularly sharp pains in her side. As the community doctor was on holiday, we asked our Mother Prioress to let Dr La Néele, our relative, see her. But she refused and, for a month, she was at prey to the cruellest of tortures. When we complained about this course of action, our angel of peace said, “Little sisters, we mustn’t murmur against God’s will. He is the One that permits Our Mother not to give me relief.”  

[310 bis-v] I asked Sister Thérèse of the Child Jesus to write down what I called “her little way of trust and love,” which she did during her last retreat in September 1896, after having asked our Mother for permission. This letter is now a part of the printed manuscript, chapter XI, pages 209 to 220 – MS B 1,1 - 5,2 -. After having read these impassioned pages, I told her it was impossible for me to reach such heights. It was then that she wrote me the letter dated 17th September 1896, which is also printed in Story of a Soul, page 351, in which, amongst other things, she said, “How can you ask me if it is possible for you to love God as I love Him?. . . My desires of martyrdom are nothing;I really feel that it is not this at all that pleases God in my little soul; what pleases Him is seeing me loving my littleness and my poverty, and the blind hope that I have in His mercy . . . .That is my only treasure”- LT 197 –. One day when she had prayed to obtain the twofold love of angels and saints, as Elisha had asked for a double portion of Elijah’s spirit, (cf. 2 Kgs 2:9), she added, “Jesus, I cannot fathom my request, [311bis-r] I would be afraid of being overwhelmed by the weight of my bold desires. My excuse is that I am a child, and children do not reflect on the meaning of their words. However, their parents, once they are placed on a throne and possess immense treasures, do not hesitate to satisfy the desires of the little ones whom they love as much as they love themselves. To please them, they do foolish things, even to the extent of becoming weak for them. Well, I am the Child of the Church and the Church is Queen since she is Your Spouse, O divine King of kings. . . . O Jesus! Why can’t I tell all little souls how unspeakable Your condescension is? I feel that if You found a soul weaker and littler than mine, which is impossible, You would take pleasure in granting it still greater favours, provided it abandoned itself with total confidence to your infinite Mercy” - MSB 4,1; 5,2 - .

Sister Thérèse of the Child Jesus loved God ardently and thought about Him constantly. One day, I said to her, “How do you manage to always think of God?” “It’s not difficult,” she replied, “we naturally think of someone we love.” “So, don’t you ever forget His presence?” “Oh, no! I don’t think I’ve ever been three minutes without [311bis-v] thinking of Him” - CSG, Oraison temps du Bon Dieu, p.77 –. A few weeks before she died, she confided, “If God were to say to me, ‘If you die right now, you will have very great glory. If you die at eighty, your glory will not be as great, but it will please Me much more,’ then I wouldn’t hesitate to answer, ‘My God, I want to die at eighty, for I’m not seeking my own glory but simply Your pleasure’” - DEA 16-7 –. Recalling her memories of when she was five or six years old, she said, “I loved God more and more as I grew older. . . I strove to please Jesus in everything I did, and I was very careful never to offend Him” - MSA 15,2 –. In the aforesaid letter written during her last retreat, this passage is also of note: “Above all, O my beloved Saviour, I would shed my

WITNESS 3: Marie of the Sacred Heart O.C.D.

blood for You, even to the very last drop. Martyrdom was the dream of my youth and this dream has grown with me within the Carmel’s cloisters. But here again, I feel that my dream is a folly, for I cannot limit myself to desiring one kind of martyrdom. To satisfy me, I would need [312 bis-r] all of them” etc. – MSB 3,1 -.

Even as a very young child, Thérèse liked to give alms to the poor. When she did so, her facial expression was one of tenderness and respect. You could tell she could see Our Lord in these suffering people. At the age of 10, she asked to go and care for a poor lady who was dying and had no one to help her. Likewise, she wanted to take provisions and clothes to another mother of children for whom she had particular compassion. [312 bis-v] When she couldn’t bring these people relief, she gave them the alms of her prayers. Out walking with our father one day, she came across an elderly crippled man and she approached him to give him a little coin; but the man refused it, thinking himself not poor enough to receive the alms. So Thérèse, upset to have humiliated someone she wanted to help, drew comfort from the thought that she would pray for him on the day of her first Communion, having heard that one obtained everything from God on that day. Five years later, she faithfully kept her resolution.

In the Carmel, during the recreations, she would choose the company of those who seemed most neglected. One of her fellow novices was a young Lay Sister who had a very difficult character, but despite this, Sister Thérèse of the Child Jesus did not distance herself from her; on the contrary, it was beside her that she would most often go and sit, and she employed such gentleness and kindness that she won over her companion’s heart and had a great influence on her. Thérèse’s charitable nature spurred her to volunteer to be aid in the linen-room to a Sister who had such a disagreeable [313r] character that nobody wanted her company. This Sister suffered from depression and did almost nothing. Sister Thérèse was already sick when I saw the Sister come to demand all the linen she had given her to darn that week, and as Sister Thérèse of the Child Jesus had not been able to fully complete the task, instead of thanking her for what she had done despite being so unwell, the Sister criticised her, but Thérèse took this criticism as though it were praise. This most unfortunate Sister actually inspired Sister Thérèse of the Child Jesus with tender compassion. One day when I was telling her about all the struggles I was having with this Sister, the Servant of God said to me, “Ah! If only you knew how important it is that we forgive her, and how worthy she is of pity. It’s not her fault if she isn’t very gifted; she’s like a poor clock that you have to wind up every quarter of an hour. Yes, it’s as bad as that. Well, will you not pity her? Oh, it’s so important to be charitable to one’s neighbour! There was one Sister in the infirmary who greatly tried our patience because of her many obsessions. As we found her company tedious, Sister Thérèse of the Child Jesus said to us, “How happy I would have been if I had been asked to assist her! Not [313v] by natural inclination perhaps, but I would have put so much love into it, thinking of God’s words, ‘I was sick and you visited me’” - DEA 20-8 –. She was heroically charitable towards the Lay Sister she mentions in chapter X of her manuscript. This poor Sister was very harsh in character and uneducated. We would quiver with impatience just touching her. So when I saw Sister Thérèse of the Child Jesus, during her novitiate, interrupt her silent prayer to take her to the refectory, I admired her virtue, because it took a great deal of strength show her such gentle and compassionate charity so constantly.

I often spent my recreations in the infirmary, by the Servant of God’s sickbed. One day I told her it would cost me dearly to lose my recreations for another patient, whereas I found it very comforting to be with her. She immediately replied, “I’d have been so happy to lose mine! Since we are on earth to suffer, the more we suffer, the happier we are. We practice charity much better when helping someone less agreeable [314r] to us! Ah! How badly we arrange our little affairs on earth” - DEA 28-7 -. Her sense of charity led her to be self-forgetful in all circumstances. During the last three months of her life, which she spent in the infirmary, she couldn’t bear for us to stay up with her a single night. Even the day before she died, she begged us to leave her by herself, so as not to make us tired.

Her charitable nature meant she desired to do good after her death, and this thought preoccupied her mind. In 1896, she prayed a novena to Saint Francis Xavier, from 4th to 12th March. She told me, “I asked for the grace to do good on earth after I die and I’m now sure that my prayer will be answered, because through this novena, we obtain everything we desire.” In the refectory I read a passage from the Life of Saint Louis de Gonzague, which relates how a sick person who prayed for recovery saw a shower of roses fall upon his bed as a sign of the grace that was to be granted to him. “I, too,” she said later during recreation, “will let fall a shower of roses after my death” - DEA 9-6 –. I must say that, during the years that Sister Thérèse of the Child Jesus spent in the Carmel of Lisieux, the community witnessed regrettable unrest. There was some opposition of parties, and character clashes provoked by the untoward temperament [314v] of Mother Marie de Gonzague, who, for over 20 years, had repeatedly served as prioress. In such a troubled environment, the Servant of God’s prudence and virtue revealed itself in an even more remarkable way. Amidst this tumult, she was able to avoid all form of conflict, and never lost her union with God, her view to personal perfection, her charity towards all her Sisters or her most religious respect for authority.

Love for the Holy Eucharist was one of the characteristic traits of her piety. In the Carmel, she greatly suffered from not being able to take Communion every day. A little while before she died, to Mother Marie de Gonzague who was afraid of daily Communion, she said, “Mother, when in heaven, I shall make you change your mind” – DES July. – And she did. After the Servant of God’s death, the chaplain gave us Holy Communion every day, and instead of rebelling as she used to, Mother Marie de Gonzague was very pleased. At about the same time as her first Communion, the Servant of God asked [315r] me to do half an hour of silent prayer every day. I did not want to. So she asked me to do just a quarter of an hour. I allowed her no more. I found she was so devout and had such a high understanding of heavenly things that it frightened me, so to speak. I feared God might take her for Himself too quickly.

[Session 25: - 12th September 1910, at 8:30 and 2 in the afternoon]

[317r] [The witness continues on the subject of justice and its components]:

She loved the Blessed Virgin dearly. Unable to attend the month of Mary exercises when very small, she prepared a little altar and prayed there very devotedly. When she was sick, at the age of 10, her favourite pastime was weaving chains of daisies and forget-me-nots for her Heavenly Mother. In Carmel, the last flowers that Sister Thérèse of the Child Jesus received were cornflowers. She wove them into two crowns and asked us to place them in the hands of the Blessed Virgin, where they remained until she died. It was at the foot of Our Lady of Victories in Paris that her inner struggles ceased. “Ah,” she said, “what I felt kneeling at her feet cannot be expressed . . . I understood she was watching over me, that I was her child. I could no longer give her any other name but ‘Mamma,’ as this appeared ever so much more tender than ‘Mother’” - MS A 56,2-57,1 –. “When we address the Saints,” she said, “they make us wait a little. We can tell that they have to go and present their request to God. But when [317v] I ask for a grace from the Blessed Virgin, I receive immediate help.” And she added, “Have you ever noticed this? Try it and you’ll see” - DEA p.649 -. Then I asked her to write down for me her thoughts about the Blessed Virgin and in May 1897she wrote her last poem in her honour. “My little poem,” she said, “expresses everything I think and would preach about the Blessed Virgin if I was a priest” - DEA 21-8 –. This poem is entitled “Why I love you, O Mary” and was printed in Story of a Soul, page 418 - PN 54 -. She always had a very special devotion for the Child Jesus and the Holy Face, but this latter devotion developed mainly in the Carmel.

Her strength of will was visible at a very early age. When she was scolded, she never made excuses. One day my father gave her a strong reprimand when she was not at fault, and she didn’t say a word in her defence. The day my father decided to have Céline take painting lessons, [318r] he said to Thérèse, who was barely 10 years old, “What about you, my little queen, do you want to learn to draw as well? Would you like that?” Without realising that I was going to inflict a great sacrifice upon her, I intervened sharply: “It would be a waste of money, because Thérèse doesn’t have the same aptitudes as Céline.” As she didn’t say a word in response, the matter was dropped and she didn’t learn drawing. It was when she joined the Carmel that she told us what a great sacrifice this represented for her. And when I said that all she had needed to do was express her desire, she replied, “Yes, but I didn’t want to refuse God anything” (Primary source of the Saint’s words).  

At the time of our father’s trial, it was Sister Thérèse of the Child Jesus who sustained our courage. Seeing her so strong, we didn’t even think of looking after her. She showed great strength again in the mortifications she came across daily. For example, on days when dinner consisted of beans, our Sisters gave her a big helping of them, unaware that they disagreed with her. As our Mother had advised her to eat everything she was served, she was sick every time. But she said nothing and only admitted this to us when in the infirmary. Her strength of will was revealed in her treatment of a Sister for whom she felt a great deal of [318v] antipathy, as she said in chapter 9 of her life story, page 173 - MSC 13,2-14,1 -. She revealed her feelings so little that, thinking she actually liked this Sister very much, I felt a little jealous, and one day I said to her, “I can’t help but tell you what’s upsetting me. I imagine that you love Sister X more than me, and I don’t find it fair, because, after all, God linked us by the bond of family. But you always look so happy to see her that I can’t think anything else, because you have never shown

WITNESS 3: Marie of the Sacred Heart O.C.D.

such pleasure being with me.” She laughed heartily but didn’t admit to the feelings of antipathy that she had for the nun.

She was able to fight her natural inclinations in all things and had extraordinary determination. The night preceding Good Friday 1896, as she relates herself - MSC 4,2-5,1 -, she coughed up blood for the first time. I saw her in the morning looking pale and exhausted, and tired from her cleaning duties. She looked so off-colour that I asked her what was wrong, and offered to help her. But she simply thanked me without saying a word about what had happened.

[319r] At recreation she often could have sat with us (her sisters), but she chose the company of those who exercised her charity the most. She didn’t lose her temper if someone said bitter words to her. One day, when she was carefully arranging the sprays of flowers that had been sent to be put around Mother Geneviève’s coffin, a Lay Sister said to her, “You can tell that these bouquets are from your family, because you are putting them near the front, whereas you’re spurning the ones from the poor” - ? HA chap.12 -. I wondered what Sister Thérèse of the Child Jesus would say in response to such unfair words, but she merely gave the Sister the loveliest of smiles and went about trying to please her by putting the less pretty flowers at the front. When she was responsible for the novitiate, I saw a postulant one day heap criticism on her and say some very harsh things. Sister Thérèse of the Child Jesus remained perfectly calm and yet I could imagine how much she must have been struggling to remain serene in the face of such biting words.

Sister Thérèse of the Child Jesus constantly practiced poverty without ever [319v] complaining. When she first joined the Carmelite convent, although she was only 15 years of age, she received no special treatment, and was served the oldest leftovers. The Sister in the kitchen would say, “Nobody will eat that, give it to Sister Thérèse of the Child Jesus; she never refuses anything.” Consequently, you would see some omelette or herring that had been cooked on Sunday reappear on her plate until the end of the week. In the refectory, she had to share the cider with the Sister sitting beside her. The bottle was so small that it barely contained two glasses. She didn’t drink any of it so as not to deprive her neighbour. She could have drunk some water from the pitcher, but abstained from doing so in order that her sacrifice and act of charity would go unnoticed. Three days before she died, despite being tortured by fever, she refrained from asking for water, into which we would put a little ice. She also refrained from asking for grapes when we forgot to put them within her reach. Seeing her look at her glass, I realised her mortification and said to her, “Would you like some icy water?” She replied, “Oh, I’d love some.” “You know,” I said “our Mother [320r] obliged you to ask for everything you need, so do it out of obedience.” “I do ask for everything I need,” she said, “but not for what I would like. So when I don’t have any grapes, I don’t ask for any” - DEA 27-8 -. Out of a spirit of poverty, she never claimed back things we had taken from her, saying that nothing belonged to her. And as for the gifts of intelligence, which God had given her in such large abundance, she let them be stolen from her, so to speak, because at recreation, if someone else used her subtle repartees by quoting them as if they were their own, she willingly allowed them the honour of entertaining the others, without giving away their source.

[320v] Sister Thérèse of the Child Jesus was as pure as an angel. During the sickness she had at the age of 10, the doctor prescribed showers. They caused her so much distress that she begged me to stop the treatment. With regard to her trip to Rome, she wrote, “I begged Our Lady of Victories to keep far from me anything that could tarnish my purity. I was fully aware that on a trip like this one in Italy, I could easily come across things capable of troubling me. I was still unacquainted with evil, and so was apprehensive about making its discovery” - MSA 57,1. She was so pure and so simple that we could confide any temptation to her in this respect. We could tell she wouldn’t let it trouble her.

I never saw Sister Thérèse of the Child Jesus commit the smallest act of disobedience. As a child, she obeyed everything she was told to do to the letter. She had a great love of reading and yet would put down a book in the middle of even the most interesting of passages if it was time to stop. At the Carmel, she was perfectly [321r] obedient to every last detail of the Rule. For instance, it is forbidden to read even three words of a book or magazine if it isn’t intended for our own use. During a preached retreat, she told me she was guilty of having looked at a page of a fashion newspaper. And when I pointed out that it wasn’t forbidden to look at pictures, she replied, “It’s true, but the priest told me that it would be more perfect not to. However,” she said, “when I could see the world’s vanity, it actually raised my soul nearer to God. But at present, when I come across such pictures, I don’t look at them. Do you do the same?” (Primary source.) She told me that our Mother Prioress had allowed Mother Agnes of Jesus (our sister Pauline) to go and talk to her sometimes. These occasions represented great sacrifices for her, because she hadn’t been given permission to reveal her inner thoughts to Mother Agnes, so she simply limited herself to listening to what “her little Mother” shared with her.

WITNESS 3: Marie of the Sacred Heart Coeur O.C.D.

However, she would only have had to say the word and permission would have been granted to her. She said, “We mustn’t seek permission for things that might alleviate the martyrdom of religious life, because then life would be easy and without any merits” - DEA 11-8 –. When the bell rung [321v] while she was writing, she would stop short without even finishing the word she had begun. So on one occasion (during the last weeks of her life) I wanted to finish writing something down that she had just told me and which I feared forgetting, when she said “It would be better, far better, to lose the words and perform a community act. If only we knew what it means!” A few days before she died, when she was burning with fever, I decided to take the sheet off her feet to cool her down, but she said, “That might not be permitted.” Mother Marie de Gonzague had once told us that even in summer it was better to keep the woollen blanket on the bed, and Sister Thérèse of the Child Jesus didn’t think that her illness exempted her from practicing obedience and mortification to a heroic degree. She only needed to say the word to be given the relief that all patients take for granted, without even thinking it requires permission.

Sister Thérèse of the Child Jesus strove her whole life to go unnoticed. She wrote to me just before my profession [322r] (1888): “Pray for the very feeble little reed that is at the bottom of the valley. Ask that your little daughter might always remain a little grain of sand, truly unknown, truly hidden from all eyes, that Jesus alone may be able to see it, and that it may become smaller and smaller and be reduced to nothing” - LT 49 -. In 1896, she wrote, “Ah, if all weak and imperfect souls felt what the least of souls feels, that is, the soul of your little Thérèse, not one would despair of reaching the summit of the mount of love” - MSB 1,2 –. Her humility did not stop her from recognising the gifts God had given her, but she was always careful to relate them all to Him. When she was sick, in the evening of 25th July 1897, she said to me, “When bending over a little, through the window I could see the setting sun casting its dying rays on nature, and the tops of the trees looked golden. I said to myself, ‘What a difference it makes if one remains in the shadows or, on the contrary, if one exposes oneself to the sun of Love, when we appear all golden. That is why I appear all golden. In reality I am not, and would cease to be so immediately if I were to distance myself from Love” ?HA chap12 -.    

[Answer to the twenty-second question]:

[322v] Towards the age of 6, Thérèse had a prophetic vision of the trial awaiting our dear father. I was in a bedroom near hers when I heard her call out in a trembling voice, “Papa, Papa.” I realised that something spiritual was happening, because our father had been away for several days. She related this strange event herself (Story of a Soul, chapter 11, pages 31 onwards) - MSA 19,2 - 21,1 –. She saw our father walking in the garden, but hunched over from old age and with his head covered in a sort of veil. Only later in the Carmel did God fully enlighten us on this vision. It was when, in the last years of his life, our father was struck by the painful and humiliating trial of cerebral paralysis. It should be noted that when he had his first attacks, our poor father would cover his head with his handkerchief, as the Servant of God saw in the vision she had in 1879, ten years before it took place.

[Before it took place, did the Servant of God say anything regarding the meaning of the vision?]:

She didn’t know what it meant [323r] precisely, but she certainly regarded the vision as prophetic and was sure that its meaning would one day be revealed to her.

The strange sickness that struck the Servant of God at the age of ten and a half, and which I’ve already related (Interrogation XIV), ended with a vision of the Blessed Virgin. Seeing her appearance and her look of ecstasy, I immediately realised she could see the Blessed Virgin herself. She remained in this state for four to five minutes, when two large tears fell from her eyes, and her gentle and lucid gaze came to rest lovingly on me. When I was alone with her, I asked her why she had wept. She was reluctant to reveal her secret to me, but when I insisted, she eventually told me, “It’s because I couldn’t see her anymore” - MSA 30,1-2 –. Four years later, when she prayed at Our Lady of Victories in Paris before her trip to Rome, she received confirmation, as it were, of the truth of the vision. She wrote, “It was there that my Mother, the Blessed Virgin, made me feel that it really was herself who had smiled at me and brought about my healing” - MSA 56,2 –. Lastly, on the very day that Sister Thérèse of the Child Jesus went down to the infirmary for the last time, we placed the same statue of the Blessed Virgin there with her. Looking at her lovingly, she said to me, “Never has she seemed so beautiful to me. But today [323v]she is a statue, whereas before,” she added, looking deeply at me, “you know very well that it was not a statue” ?HA chap12 -.

One day during her last illness, I felt a sadness touching on despair, thinking about having to watch her die, but I wept in secret, careful not to let her see any of my feelings. Much later that day, when I went into the infirmary showing no emotion whatsoever, her first words were ones of gentle reproach: “You mustn’t weep like those who have no hope” - DEA 18-9 -.

A little robin, one of the many birds she protected in the garden, would come to visit her from time to time. And one day, when I wanted to lay traps for the blackbirds that were eating the strawberries, she said to me, “Don’t hurt them. They only have this life to enjoy. When I’m in heaven, I promise I will send you fruit if you don’t kill the little birds” - DEA 13-7 -. It so happens that the following year, we received a crate of pears and a basket of strawberries. They were sent by the Mother Superior of the Hospital in Brest, who didn’t know us at all, but who thought, she said, [324r] that this gesture would please Sister Thérèse of the Child Jesus. Since then, we have received some every year. I said to her one day, “It wouldn’t be so bad if I were the only one to suffer from your death, but how will I ever comfort Mother Agnes of Jesus?” “Don’t worry,” she replied, “Mother Agnes of Jesus won’t have time to dwell on her grief, because, for the rest of her life, I will keep her so busy that she won’t even be able to cope with everything herself” - ?DES July -.

A few days before she died, she had a strange foresight of what is now occurring surrounding her. She spoke to us (her three Carmelite sisters) about these future events, which have become reality today, with the simplicity of a child and the same candid humility that she always assumed when talking about the favours she received from God. Amongst other things, she told us to carefully keep the rose petals she strew over her Crucifix: “Later on,” she said, “they will help you” - DEA 14-9 -. She also alluded to the countless letters that would assail us after her death, and the joy that they would bring us. And one day even, she said to us amiably, “Little sisters, you do realise you’re nursing a little saint!” -  ?DES, July -

[Session 26: - 13th September 1910, at 8:30 and 2 in the afternoon]

[326r] [Answer to the twenty-third question]:

Generally speaking, during her lifetime, the Servant of God didn’t attract any attention [326v] at all. Her virtue above all consisted in doing ordinary things extremely well. Those who observed her more carefully, however, realised how absolutely exceptional her perfection was. When she was small, people would say, “Heaven shines out of this child’s eyes” - CF 192 -. In Carmel, her extraordinary even-temperedness was perceived by a few nuns as silent reproach, and at times they displayed bitterness and jealousy. Most Sisters, however, did justice to her fervour. Some openly said that her constancy of virtue was out of the ordinary. One such nun, noticing the care she took to obey the smallest recommendation, said, “Sister Thérèse of the Child Jesus is a saint.” Another, seeing how mildly she took a hurtful remark, considered her from then on as an exceptionally virtuous soul. Lastly, our Mother Prioress, Marie de Gonzague, who did not flatter her, said of her, “Souls of such strength of character need no special treatment”  ?HA chap.12 -.

[Answer to the twenty-fourth question]:

[327r] During the last three months of her life, she endured cruel suffering with constant serenity and even joy. Mother Agnes of Jesus said to her, “You will perhaps suffer very much before you die.” “Oh,” she replied, “don’t worry. I have a very great desire to suffer” - DEA 30-5 -. Another day, I said to her, “I asked God not to let you suffer very much, and this is how he answers me!” She replied, “I asked God not to listen to any prayers that might hinder the accomplishment of His designs for me. I prayed that creatures would never hinder His will for me” - DEA 10-8 -.

On 13th July 1897, she said to me, “If only you knew what plans I’m making, and what a lot things I’ll do when I’m in heaven!” “So what plans are you making?” I asked her. “I will begin my mission. I’ll go out there to help the missionaries and prevent little pagans from dying before having been baptised” - DEA 13-7 -.

One day when she was in a lot of pain, a novice came and tired her out telling her about some grievance she held against one of her companions. Sister Thérèse of the Child Jesus wore herself out in vain trying to reason with her and was ultimately obliged to scold her. Once the novice had left, I said to the Servant of God, “That novice is such a struggle! It must [327v] frighten you to see her coming.” “A good soldier is not afraid to fight,” she replied. “Didn’t I say I would die arms in hand?” - DES 8-7 -

A few weeks before she died, thinking about the suffering that awaited her, I said, “It upsets me to think that your suffering is going to increase.” “I’m not upset,” she replied, “because God will give me the strength to bear it” - DEA 4-7 -.

On another occasion, she proved to us just how detached she had become. Alluding to the fact that her sister Pauline,

WITNESS 3: Marie of the Sacred Heart O.C.D.

Mother Agnes of Jesus, would no longer be prioress when she died, she said, “Yes, I say this from the bottom of my heart; I’ll be happy to die in the arms of our Mother Marie de Gonzague, because she represents God. With you as prioress, little Mother, there would have been a human element, and I prefer the divine” - DEA 20-7 -.

One day I asked her, “Are you not afraid of death at all?” She took on a serious expression and replied, “No, not yet. But I may yet grow afraid of it like the others, because it is a momentous event, but I surrender myself to God” - DEA, 9-7 -.

[328r] Sister Geneviève said to her one day, “The angels will come and fetch you. Oh, how we’d love to see them!” “I don’t think you’ll see them,” she replied, “but that doesn’t prevent them from being there. I would, however, like to die a beautiful death to please you. I asked the Blessed Virgin for this. I haven’t asked God because I want Him to do as He pleases. Asking the Blessed Virgin for something is not the same as asking God. She knows what to do with my little desires. It is up to her whether to speak to God about them or not, so as not to force Him to answer my prayer” - DEA 4-6 -.

On 22nd August, we told her that various people were praying for her. She said, “I was pleased at the thought that people were praying for me. Then I told God I wanted the prayers applied to sinners.” “Don’t you want them for your own consolation?” “No,” she replied - DEA 22-8 -.

During her last sickness, her body became extremely thin. But the doctor was surprised to note, and this was strange, that right up until she died, her face didn’t seem to alter from the illness. When looking at her emaciated hands one day, she said, “I feel such joy at seeing myself waste away! I’ve become a skeleton, and that pleases me” - DEA 8-7 -. My sisters and I said to her how glad we would be if her body could remain the same, and [328v] she replied, “You’ll find nothing left of me but a little skeleton. That’s all they found of Saint Louis de Gonzague.”

Once she had received Extreme Unction in joy and peace, she told us how happy she was that the priest had said her soul now resembled that of a child after being baptised.

She suffered terribly on the day she died (30th September 1897). She was short of breath and in such agony that we didn’t dare leave her. She said, “If this is agony, what is death?” It was as though she had been forsaken by heaven and earth, which reminded us of Jesus abandoned on the Cross. “Oh, poor little Mother,” she said, “I assure you, my chalice is full! Yes, God, do everything You will, but have pity on me! . . . No, never would I have believed it was possible to suffer so much. Oh, this is indeed pure agony, because there aren’t any consolations. No, not one! . . . This is due to my ardent desire to save souls.” In the evening, she said to our Mother, “Mother, prepare me for death.” A few moments before she died, [329r] and holding her Crucifix tightly, Sister Thérèse of the Child Jesus pronounced these words as she gasped for breath: “Oh, I love Him! My God, I love You!” These were her last words. She was then shown a heavenly vision, which reminded me of the one I witnessed when she was healed by the vision of the Blessed Virgin at the age of ten. During her ecstasy, one of the Sisters brought a candle close to her face, but her gaze remained clear and bright, staring at the object that delighted her with an expression of inexpressible peace on her face. This ecstasy lasted for a few minutes, and then she lowered her eyes and gave her last breath.

[Answer to the twenty-fifth question]:

She was buried on 4th October, in the section of the public cemetery of Lisieux reserved for Carmelite nuns. There is nothing extraordinary I can tell you about the burial. I heard, and it is now well-known, that on 6th September of this year, 1910, Sister Thérèse’s remains were exhumed by order and under the presidence of the Bishop. They were placed in a lead coffin and reburied [329v]a short distance from the original site.

[Answer to the twenty-sixth question]:

The number of people visiting the Servant of God’s grave is still growing.

[How do you know this?]:

Even though we don’t leave the enclosure, we know this only too well, because many such pilgrims also come to the visiting room and insist that the Turn Sisters let them speak to one or other of the Servant of God’s sisters, which we evidently refuse to do. [330r] These pilgrims include a large number of priests and many ask for permission to say Mass in the monastery chapel. Moreover, this affluence is well-known and anybody can testify to it.  

[Answer to the twenty-seventh question]:

On this point, I know what everyone knows: that the Servant of God’s reputation for holiness has spread throughout the whole world. I have the mail to prove it. More and more arrives at our Carmel each day asking for prayers and giving thanks. These letters come from every country possible, and some are sent by simple and relatively uneducated people, while many others are from people

WITNESS 3: Marie of the Sacred Heart O.C.D.

distinguished for their intelligence and status. At the moment, we receive about sixty letters a day. It cannot truthfully be said that the Carmelite convent instigated a propaganda campaign to spread this reputation of saintliness. No sooner had the first edition of Story of a Soul been made available to the public than we were literally assailed with requests for pictures, keepsakes, etc. We printed the publications known today in order to reply to these requests.

[Answer to the twenty-eighth question]:

[330v] I have heard nothing of the sort be said.

[Answer to the twenty-ninth question]:

We have entire crates of letters that relate graces people have received and varyingly miraculous events that are due to the Servant of God’s intercession. Some of these accounts have been published at the end of Story of a Soul (1910 edition) - ?HA Shower of Roses – Several such events strike me as particularly remarkable (healings etc.) but the people involved are in a better position to relate them. A few miraculous events have, to my knowledge, occurred within our own monastery. On the evening of Friday 1st October, the day after she died, Sister Marie of St Joseph, to whom Sister Thérèse of the Child Jesus had been particularly charitable during her lifetime, returned to her cell to find it filled with such a strong scent of violets that that she thought one of us had put a bunch of them in her cell and she looked everywhere for them. Almost all the nuns in the community, actually, have smelt [331r] mysterious perfumes at one time or another. It has happened to me four or five times. For both me and the other Sisters, such phenomena happen just when we’re not expecting it. In fact, I took very little notice of these events, attaching less importance to them than to an inner grace. A Lay novice (Sister Jeanne-Marie) who has great trust in Sister Thérèse of the Child Jesus, prayed to her one day when she was tired and had a lot of work to do, saying, “Dear little Sister, please help me.” Meanwhile, the Sister in charge of the kitchen came into the room with an entirely empty cauldron of water to fill. The novice, who had climbed to the top of a ladder to clean the tiles, said to herself, “Ah, I’m going to leave her to do it, I’ve too much work to do.” Then, summoning all her courage, she climbed down and, after having cleaned and dried the cauldron, she began pouring the first jug of water into it. It needed four to fill it. She went to fetch the second jug, and as she was about to pour it in, she saw that the cauldron was full to the brim.

[Answer to the thirtieth question]:

I can think of nothing to add to my testimony.

[331v] [Concerning the Articles, the witness says she knows nothing other than what she has already said in answer to the preceding questions. – Here ends the interrogation of this witness. The Acts are read out. The witness makes no alteration to them and signs as follows]:

I ratify and confirm that I have testified as above according to the truth.